Daursky State Nature Biosphere Reserve
Year of foundation: 1987
Area: core area: 45,790 ha, buffer zone: 163,530 ha, Federal Refuge “Tsasucheysky Bor”: 57,867 ha
Daursky State nature biosphere reserve is located in the south of Chita region next to the Russian-Mongolian border. It was established in the place where the federal refuge “Tsasucheisko-Toreisky” had existed since 1981.
Wetlands and steppes with hills are the typical landscapes of this protected area. The Barun-Torey Lake with its 10 islands makes the bigger portion of the reserve. The lake water level and the number of islands are not stable. The main wealth of the area is colonies of birds (gulls, terns, herons, cormorants, etc.). The relict gull colony dwelling here is one of the four existing in the world. The Barun-Torey Lake makes one hydrological system with the Zun-Torey Lake. The both lakes and the lower reaches of the Imalka and Uldza rivers flowing into Lake Barun-Torey are included in the list of Ramsar wetlands. The ecosystems of the reserve, particularly shore areas, change depending on the lakes water level.
The Daursky reserve unites a cluster of areas. The rocks of Adon-Chelon (from the Buryat language — “The Herd of Stone Horses”) are quite different from the lake part of the reserve. The beautiful granite cliffs that resemble frozen running animals or sleeping giants, the richest diversity of grasslands, and swifts nesting in the rocks together create the fascination of this area. The nature reserve also includes an insular pine stand, formed by the rarest subspecies of European common pine – the Krylov pine, ideally adapted to the conditions of dry steppes of Transbaikalia.
The list of species present today in the reserve and its protective zone includes: 440 species of vascular plants with several endemics and over 20 rare species, 47 species of mammals, 317 species of birds, 3 species of reptiles, 2 species of amphibians. Four species of mammals and 42 species of birds are listed in the Red Data Book of Russia. Over 20 species of birds inhabiting the reserve are listed in the IUCN Red Data Book. The reserve and its neighborhood provide habitat for 6 species of cranes, of which four (white-naped, demoiselle, common, and red-crowned) nest here and two (Siberian and hooded) come here during migrations or for summering.
The Torey lowland is a very important place of feeding for many migrating birds. The abundance of Demoiselle crane only may reach there 30,000 birds. This area is also important for mammals: as it is the only place in Russia where Mongolian gazelles (dzerens) permanently live and breed.
The rich flora and fauna, scenic landscapes and milk-white beaches of the Torey lakes attract here many people. Today there are five excursion routes in the reserve buffer zone and two visit centers work for visitors. All tourist routes are combined — for car and hike travel.
Dalai Lake biosphere reserve
Year of foundation: 1986
Area: protected zone: 45,082 hа, buffer zone: 22,816 hа, transit zone: 672,102 hа
Dalai Lake (Dalainor) biosphere reserve (Khulun-Bier) was founded in the province of Inner Mongolia on the Mongolian plateau in the neighborhood of Lake Dalainor for combined protection of rare birds, wetlands and steppe ecosystems. The reserve includes the large Dalainor lake and some middle-sized water bodies (New Dalainor, Ulan-Noor, a part of Buir-Noor and others) and the Orshun-Gol river.
Special importance the reserve has for birds’ conservation. Functionally the Dalainor is closely connected with the Torey lakes. These wetlands important for rest and feeding are situated within one migration corridor. That is why many migrant birds (swans, geese, ducks, gulls, snipes and other birds) during their journey visit both water bodies in turn and form many-thousand gatherings there. Especially attractive is the Dalainor for Whooper swans, thanks to this fact poets call it “swan lake”. At the place are also situated the largest in China fall gatherings of Swan Geese before migration. The reserve is not less important as a nesting area and summer residence of birds. For birds’ breeding of special importance is Lake Ulan-Noor located to the south of Lake Dalainor and comprising the vast marshy shallow waters of the Orshun-Gol river. There Red-crowned Cranes, Swan geese, a lot of herons and other birds make their nests. The Ulan-Noor (as well as the Torey lakes) is one of the world` s most important sites of Swan geese moulting. Specially for changing feathers geese and ducks gather there from the huge territory of Eastern Asia. Swan Geese gatherings on the Ulan-Noor reach 2,500 individuals (about 5% of the world population of the species).
The lake plains and depressions are the most significant wetlands of Inner Mongolia and one of most significant in the China which are given the status of wetlands of international importance(Ramsar Convention).
By now in the reserve are registered 653 species of higher plants, 284 species of birds, 38 species of mammals. 55 species of vertebrates are put into the national Red Data Book, and some species (such as cranes, Great Bustard, Swan Goose) are globally endangered.
At present the reserve plays a special role as a center of international monitoring. Having no common boundaries with the Russian and Mongolian parts of the Dauria international protected area, the reserve is bound to them with the community of flora, fauna, with importance for conservation of migrant birds. That is why in the reserve area annual counts of waterfowl are held with participation of the Russian and Mongolian specialists.
Besides wonderful biodiversity, the reserve’s area is famous for its rich history. People lived on the shores of the Dalainor more than 10,000 years ago. Their main occupation has aiways been fishing. Fishing has preserved its importance for the life in the province till nowadays. Strangely enough, the most fish is caught in winter, somewhat less – in summer. The annual catch is about 10,000 tons.
The Dalainor is by right called a pearl of the northern China. Picturesque landscapes, rich wildlife and plant world, diverse ecosystems are a perfect basis for the development of ecotourism in the reserve. Today two tourist zones are allocated in the reserve with visit-centres for visitors; they have become favorite rest places for residents of Manzhouly and other cities.
Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Nature Area
Year of foundation: 1992
Area: core zone: 103,000 hа, buffer zone: 615,000 hа, transit zone: no
Mongol Daguur specially protected nature area was founded in accordance with international standards for protected nature areas of the highest rank in Dornod aimak along the Russian-Mongolian border, and it forms a common in area nature reserve with the Russian Daursky reserve. Mongol Daguur consists of two different parts. The first and the largest of them is hilly steppes along the southern shore of Lake Barun-Torey, the second one is a marshy site in the floodplain of the Uldza river 30 km long and 20 km away from the main area.
The both parts have special importance as the place of nesting and rest for many waterfowl and near-water birds species during their migrations, among those species are a lot of rare and globally vulnerable ones. 260 birds species are registered there, including those put into IUCN Red List as “globally vulnerable” (Swan Goose, Great Bustard and others). Alongside with the Daursky reserve Mongol Daguur is one of a few places in the world where one can watch in wild nature 6 species of cranes – the pearls of Central Asia: Siberian crane, Grus Crane, Red-crowned and Hooded cranes, as well as regularly nesting White-naped and Demoiselle cranes.
It is because of that the area of the Mongol Daguur reserve received the status of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar convention).
A special pride of the reserve is its steppe sites that have preserved the appearance of pristine mountainous steppes of Dauria. By today about 300 species of higher plants are identified there including several endemics (growing only in Dauria) and more than 100 species of medicinal plants traditionally used in popular medicine.
Peculiar is the reserve’s wildlife. Fauna of amphibians and reptiles is poor (only 6 species inhabit that area), and mammals inhabiting the reserve are 40 species. Daurian hedgehog, for instance, lives only in the north-east of Mongolia. Mongol Daguur is one of the important habitats of Mongolian gazelle and Siberian marmot. Little human population of the reserve’s area and insignificant anthropogenic press allowed many mammals to preserve a relatively high number there.
Today Mongol Daguur is a protected nature area known all over the world. Scientific research is carried out in the reserve annually both by DIPA specialists and by scientists of many countries of the world. At conservation of the unique steppe area are aimed a number of international nature-protecting projects, which are being realized there.
The charm of the steppe and lots of animals living there, as well as the possibility to get acquainted with traditional way of life of Mongols attract guests from many countries of the world to the area. Now two visit-centers for guests and local people work in Ereentsav (the nearest to the reserve settlement), and in Choibalan where the reserve’s administration is situated. All this presents a good basis for development of ecological tourism in the region.